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How to Outsource Customer Service in 2023 (In Just 5 Steps)

Omid Ghiam
August 12, 2022
Learn how thousands of businesses use an outsource customer service platform to automate their customer support and improve customer retention.

In 2020, over 40% of customers stopped doing business with a brand due to poor customer service. That’s a lot of business lost.

You can have a great product and aesthetically pleasing brand, but if you don’t effectively communicate with your customers it can hurt brand authority, your ability to attract repeat customers, and your bottom line.

There's no doubt that a great customer experience (CX) leads to a healthy and thriving business.

However, many companies don’t know how to approach customer service the right way. They either have their internal teams handle support tickets, outsource their support overseas to call center services that don’t really understand their brand, or use AI to respond to customers.

None of these are ideal.

While having internal team members handle your customer support can be a good option in the short term, it’s not an effective way to scale your business. As your business grows and attracts new customers, your internal team will become the bottleneck.

Similarly, outsourcing customer service to people that don’t really understand your business, or AI chatbots, could make customers feel a disconnect from your brand. It will feel like your customer care initiatives are an afterthought and not something you keep as a priority.

So, what’s the solution? Outsource your customer service the right way.

What Is Outsourced Customer Service?

Outsourced customer service is when a business uses a third party platform to handle support tickets. The best customer service providers focus on hiring external support reps that love your products and brand — call them, Superfans.

These Superfans generally live in the US or your country, understand your brand voice, and have used your product(s) before. This ensures that, when speaking to your customers, your support staff truly understands your business. It makes it so that customers, and potential customers, feel a consistency across your entire business — from before and after they purchase.

The best outsourced customer support platforms also focus on responding to questions not just through email and chat, but also on social media.

Do Companies Outsource Customer Service?

Yes, many companies outsource their customer service — especially ones that are growing fast and need to focus on other aspects of their business.

Popular ecommerce brands like Thinx, Mented Cosmetics, Factor, and more all use outsourcing services for their customer support.

These are all reputable brands that have high net promoter scores (NPS). This shows that when companies find the right way to outsource customer service, there can potentially be huge gains.

So without further ado, let’s learn how to outsource and automate your customer service — the right way.

5 Steps to Outsource Customer Service (The Right Way)

Here are five steps to properly outsourcing your customer service in 2023:

1. Establish Clear Goals for Outsourcing

The first step to automating your customer support operation is to establish clear goals. Why do you want to outsource your customer service in the first place?

Is it to improve your NPS? Is it to offer 24/7 support? Is it to get better coverage across all of your marketing channels? Is it to scale up or down your support staff to handle more tickets?

Hopefully the answer to all of those questions is yes.

But as you can see, there are a lot of questions you can ask regarding your customer support operation.

So get clear about what success looks like for you.

At the end of the day, what you really want are happy customers that get their questions and concerns answered quickly and effectively.

Knowing what you want your customer service operation to look like will allow you to find an outsourcing partner that fits all of your needs.

Know What You Need

As an example, let’s say you’re an ecommerce brand that sells kitchen utensils. You have a strong social media presence and a beautiful website.

You’ve added a popular chatbot to your website and hired a few people in-house to handle support emails as they come through. But you’re noticing that your DMs on social media are filled with questions. Questions that get overlooked because your team is only focused on email or chat.

Now you have angry customers tweeting about you claiming that you never respond to them on social media.

You did everything in your power to make customers happy but it still doesn’t feel like enough. Your omnichannel presence is missing, so you look for new solutions. You hire more staff.

Your customer support is doing well for sometime, until your business starts growing. Your team is having a hard time keeping up with support tickets. So you hire more staff.

Next thing you know, you have a costly operation. Then, due to economic reasons out of your control, business slows down. You only have a few support tickets coming in that require a fraction of your support staff to handle. Now you’re left with more people than support tickets. Then it becomes tricky. Do you keep paying extra for support you don’t need, or do you let some people go? It’s an awful feeling.

And yes, we know that’s a pretty dramatic example. But, it does happen quite often.

This is why choosing the right goals, and finding an outsourced customer service platform that’s flexible, is key to creating less headaches and happy customers.

2. Integrate With a Trustworthy Customer Support as a Service Software

Once you understand what you’re looking for in a customer support tool, it’s time to automate your customer service.

This is where a CSaaS (customer support as a service) tool comes to play. A platform like Chatdesk can give you flexibility for how you want to outsource your customer service.

Chatdesk is used by thousands of brands across the globe and includes features like:

Let’s look at how each feature works.

24/7 Support Flexibility

Chatdesk gives you a 24/7 outsourced support staff that uses machine learning and US-based agents to solve your ticket backlog that can increase conversions by 15%.

You can also scale up or down your customer service workforce at any time. This comes in handy during the holidays, busy hours, and weekends.

"It was difficult for our team to respond 24/7 on social media but so important for sales. Within hours, Chatdesk was responding to messages and making Andie women happy!"

— Rachel Thaw, Operations Manager

With no minimums or hourly charges, this will give you peace of mind knowing that tickets are always being answered with no surprising fees.

Smarter Call Deflection

Having a way to reduce inbound calls is key to having an efficient customer support operation. With affordable pricing, Chatdesk dramatically reduces the number of calls your support team receives by deflecting callers to self-service and chat resolutions.

Save $3-5 per call deflected with Chatdesk

Reducing voice support is a cost-effective way to create happy customers, and a platform like Chatdesk can help reduce costs by up to 80%. There’s even a feature that allows you to shift calls to messaging platforms like:

This allows your customers to continue conversations on whatever platform that feels best for them. At the end of the day, the more options you can give you customers the better.

Automated Customer Insights

Knowing the ROI of your customer support staff is important. The more things you can track in your business the better. This will give you proper feedback loops to better understand your customers' questions and concerns.

By knowing the types of questions your customers are asking, and the frequency at which they are asked, you can inform your marketing and product teams — helping boost customer satisfaction.

When using a platform like Chatdesk, you can automatically aggregate and analyze support questions from all of your marketing channels.

Automated Customer Insights per customer tickets support category

"With Chatdesk, we have been able to quantify the types of conversations across our social media channels. The Chatdesk team is also genuinely great! Our business partner is on top of all our requests and handles our questions with extreme care and attention."

— Alice Warren, Senior Director of CX

With comprehensive insights in one single dashboard, you’ll be able to quickly get a birds-eye view on everything that’s happening.

Integrations With Other Tools

Chatdesk allows you to connect all of your existing tools to create a comprehensive customer support operation.

Andie Chatdesk social and e-mail e-commerce integrations screen

In one click, you can launch on Zendesk, Gorgias, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok — no training or development required.

"Chatdesk has given us a conversion boost of over 10%. It was a one click setup and then instantly we had the Chatdesk Experts providing support responses that were highly accurate"

— Wes Blundy, Founder & CEO

Some tool categories you can connect with Chatdesk include:

Being able to integrate with your existing customer support stack will allow you to bring everything into a centralized place. This will ensure nothing gets lost in translation.

3. Find Out Where Your Customers Can Contact You

Now that we’ve found a platform to automate and outsource your customer service, it’s time to start gathering all of your marketing channels.

With so many tools and ways for customers to contact you, it’s important to know where all of your messages are coming from. In the example we gave earlier, sometimes companies forget or neglect all the channels their customers contact them through.

Email and chat could work well for Millennials, but Gen Z customers might go straight to social media to address concerns. So, it’s important to be clear about where people can contact you.

Some ways you can allow customers to contact you include:

Having a wide range of places your customers can reach out to will give them flexibility to contact you in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Sometimes people want to talk to a person on the phone, and other times people just want to send you a direct message on Facebook.

Give your customers the freedom of options.

This will make you stand out from other brands and show that you truly care about those who support your business.

4. Create Your Brand Voice and Tone Guidelines

When outsourcing your customer service team, it’s important to give clear guidelines on how you want them to speak to your customers.

Brand voice and tone guidelines outline how your company speaks to the world. It’s your brand's personality.

Brand voice and tone is crucial for ensuring consistency across communication platforms. Brands with a strong voice, for example, will sound the same on social media, email communications, and blog articles, even if the content is created by three distinct teams.

This is why having a customer support tool that offers clear insights is vital. It can inform how to respond to customers by showing what replies are helpful and which are not.

If you don’t already have brand voice and tone guidelines in place, there’s still an easy way to train your customer support staff.

If you already have a handful of support ticket responses that you are pleased with, Chatdesk can automatically figure out your brand voice and tone.

Using machine learning from prior tickets, Chatdesk establishes an on-brand knowledge base. They hire, schedule, and train real-life Superfans of your brand based in the United States to give 24/7 assistance in your company's voice.

"Amazing customer service is a pillar of our brand and Chatdesk enabled us to quickly provide tailored responses and maintain our unique voice."

— Sophie Bakalar, Co-Founder

When you try to automate your customer support to outsourcing companies make sure that whatever platform you use can effectively understand your brand voice.

5. Train for Quality and Measure Success

Once you have clear brand voice and tone guidelines in place, you can begin to inform your customer support service provider on how they should interact with your customers.

Quality assurance is at the core of every healthy business.

As mentioned above, a tool like Chatdesk can automate this process for you if you already have support ticket responses you’re happy with — helping reduce your business process outsourcing (BPO) documentation.

As support tickets come in, and are resolved, you’ll begin to get a clear idea of what quality looks like. Customer support tools that give you a dashboard with real-time reporting on your team's CSAT and revenue, as well as relevant customer insights on site conversions, will give you a better shot at communicating to customers in a meaningful way.

A successful customer support operation should track the following:

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Your NPS is a number from 1-10, with 10 being the best that your customers can give you. You generally want to have an NPS of 9 or 10, which means your customers are likely to recommend you to a friend.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Your CSAT is a survey response to how customers would rate their experience with you. This can be in the form of multiple questions like “How would you rate your customer support agent?” or “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with us?” These can be answered in the form of 1-5 star ratings.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Your CES is a single question you can ask customers about how hard or easy it was doing business with you. This can be in the form of a question like “How easy was it to complete your order?” With answers ranging from, easy, medium, or hard.

As you can see, these metrics can feel similar in nature, but they’re important to track so you can better understand the performance and ROI of your outsourced customer service tool.

Why Outsource Customer Service?

Good customer support improves customer retention — helping you grow your business organically. When companies try to create their own customer service operation it can be expensive. Not just costly in terms of pay, but also time. For every customer support specialist that you hire, you need to train them to understand your brand.

So, many small to medium sized businesses look for cost saving alternatives that automate their customer support initiatives to an outsourced team.

If you’re a startup or team running a growing small business, this is crucial. You need to allocate as much time as you can to creating better products, fulfilling orders, and finding new customers. Outsourcing your customer success program can save you a lot of time and money.

We hope this article gives you a clear path for how to outsource customer service. Your customers are your supporters, so make sure you’re there to support them as well.

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